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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO MDC'S COLUMNS

PURDUE MENS BASKETBALL:
Purdue 63, Missouri 73

Published: 12/09/2007
Author: MDC
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

BOX SCORE: Purdue 63, Missouri 73

When I looked at the newspaper this morning and saw that Missouri starts one senior, three juniors and a sophomore and that Purdue was going to start four freshmen and a sophomore in a packed Mizzou Arena (they were expecting a near sell-out crowd), I thought to myself that there is no way Purdue can win this game. As the game unfolded, it was apparent that Purdue got a huge break when the inclement weather kept thousands of Missouri fans safely at home, although it did appear that the fans who did attend made up in volume what they lacked in numbers, and the atmosphere was still fairly intimidating. When Purdue fell behind by as many as 10 points (22-12) midway through the first half, I thought they were on their way to a blowout loss. To their credit, the Purdue players fought back and eventually closed the gap to two (33-31) following two beautiful 3-pointers by E’Twaun Moore. Missouri responded with an 11-5 run to close out the first half and with both Hummel and Martin in serious foul trouble, things didn’t look promising for Purdue. Largely because of this foul trouble; Purdue started the second half with a line-up of Moore, Grant, Kramer, Green and Johnson. This line-up got Purdue off to a great start with a 6-0 run that closed the gap to two (44-42) and Missouri was forced to call a full time-out less than two minutes into the half. From here, both teams struggled a little at the offensive end, but Purdue finally managed to take a 50-49 lead with about 10 minutes to play on consecutive baskets by JaJuan Johnson and Scott Martin. Purdue would expand this lead to 10 (59-49) with just under 8 minutes to play. At this point Missouri had gone almost seven minutes without a field goal. It was at this point in the game that Purdue stopped attacking Missouri’s press and started trying to run clock and slow the game down and it turned out to be a huge tactical error as Missouri jumped all over them in the half court and went on a 24-2 run to close the game before E’Twaun Moore scored Purdue’s only basket of the last 8 minutes to make the final score 73-63. However, don’t be fooled into thinking Purdue wasn’t in this game at crunch time. This was still very much anyone’s basketball game until Chris Kramer’s 3-pointer rimmed out with about 1:30 to go with Purdue trailing 63-61. Missouri immediately hit a wide open 3-pointer and finished the game at the free throw line.

There are a couple of things that stick out for me about this game:

(1) Scott Martin played 14 minutes before fouling out and Robbie Hummel played 21 minutes before fouling out. They both have to learn to play aggressively without fouling or it will indeed be a long year for Purdue.

(2) This was a game that Purdue was in position to win and then gave away with what I can only call their version of the football “prevent defense” at the offensive end of the floor. Up until about 8 minutes remained in the game, Purdue had been successful in attacking Missouri’s press and getting good shots in the half-court. Then, for some reason, they became passive and stopped attacking. To me, the turning point in the game came when Chris Kramer was called for a 10 second violation on one possession and only a time out call by the coaching staff prevented another on the next possession.

(3) Purdue’s 3-point shooting was horrid (3/19 or 15.8%) and I think at least part of the problem is that the wrong players are taking the shots. Crump was 0/5 and Green was 0/3 and that’s about 4 or 5 3-pointers too many from these 2 players as far as I am concerned. Interestingly enough, Purdue is now 5/31 (16.1%) on 3-pointers away from Mackey Arena and 26/74 (35.1%) in Mackey Arena.

(4) Purdue had just 9 assists on 25 made baskets today and I was disappointed that Purdue’s guards didn’t do a better job of finding the open shooters. When Robbie Hummel has almost as many assists (4) as Kramer, Grant, Moore, Crump and Green combined (5), I don’t think Purdue is going to win many of those games.

Individual player comments:

Tarrance Crump – Tarrance had a horrid shooting night (0/7 including 0/5 from 3-point range) and while I think he did a reasonably good job of handling Missouri’s pressure, he needs to do a lot better than 1 point, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 26 minutes if Purdue is going to be able to beat good teams on the road. He did add 3 rebounds, but Tarrance is a better player than he showed today.

Nemanja Calasan – Nemanja almost totally disappeared today at both ends of the floor. He was 0/3 from the floor, 1 of 2 from the line for a single point and 3 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play and like Tarrance; he simply has to play more effectively if Purdue is going to have any success this year.

Marcus Green – I thought Marcus played pretty well today. He gave Purdue a spark off the bench with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 turnovers in 21 minutes of play. I just wish Marcus would not be so quick to pull the trigger on 3-pointers. Missouri was obviously letting him shoot from long range and he fell right into their trap by missing all 3 of his 3-point attempts. That makes Marcus 1/8 on the season from beyond the arc and he has missed his last 7 attempts.

Keaton Grant – Keaton got off to an excellent start today scoring Purdue’s first 5 points including a beautiful 3-pointer on Purdue’s 3rd possession. Unfortunately, he missed all 3 of his remaining 3-point attempts and he finished the day with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 turnovers in 27 minutes of play. It’s great to see Keaton beginning to score the basketball and I think he’s making steady improvement in his over-all game.

Chris Kramer – Chris finally started to assert himself a little bit at the offensive end of the floor today. He had several nice moves to the basket and he finished the day with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal and 1 turnover in 25 minutes of play. It looks to me like Chris is still suffering a little bit from the after-effects from his concussion, but I would expect him to be at full strength next week for Louisville.

Robbie Hummel – Once again, Robbie got into early foul trouble and it hampered his effectiveness. He ended up scoring 5 points and added 3 rebounds, 4 assists 1 block, 1 steal and 2 turnovers in 21 minutes of play. I think Robbie has demonstrated that he is Purdue’s most versatile player, but until he learns to stop making silly fouls, his effectiveness is going to be limited.

JaJuan Johnson – I thought JaJuan played great today. He had 9 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 1 turnover in 23 minutes of play and I think that’s exactly the kind of production Purdue needs from him every game. There was one play in the first half where Tarrance Crump came down on a fast break and lobbed the ball up in the air for JaJuan to stuff. JaJuan’s ability to run the floor is a big plus for Purdue and I like the way he hustles at both ends.

Scott Martin – Scott didn’t play much today because of foul trouble and when he’s not in the line-up, Purdue really struggles offensively. Scott did score 6 points and added 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 turnover in only 15 minutes of play, but his absence really hurt Purdue today. When he left the game, Purdue was still leading 60-57 with just over 4 minutes to play and it would have been a real plus for Purdue to have him on the floor during those last 4 minutes.

E’Twaun Moore – I thought E’Twaun played pretty well today. He was Purdue’s leading scorer with 15 points and he added 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 3 turnovers in a team high 28 minutes of play. One of his turnovers came late in the game when he hesitated and was called for traveling after receiving a nice entry pass. I think the next time E’Twaun gets the ball in that situation; he’ll take it strong to the basket instead of hesitating.

As devastating as this loss was, it’s still not the end of the world for this team. I think they can take some consolation in the way they fought back from a 10 point first half deficit to take a 10 point second half lead with less than 8 minutes to play in the game. I also think they can be happy about the way they handled Missouri’s press for most of the game. I think it’s clear after today’s game that Purdue still hasn’t learned how to win on the road. Of course, since this is only their 2nd road game of the year, it’s perhaps expecting a little too much to think that they might have learned that lesson. I think sometimes we forget that today’s game was only the 3rd time all year that Purdue has had a full roster of players and that it would be very unusual for any college team with so many new players in the rotation to be functioning at high levels of efficiency this early in the season. With Louisville losing today to Dayton, some of the luster is off next week’s game, but I think Louisville will provide another good teat for Purdue and I’m anxious to see how they respond after today’s tough loss.

Finally, I’ll add that I thought the coaching staff made a huge blunder by not continuing to attack when they took the 10 point lead at the 8 minute mark. I think part of the problem was that Hummel and Martin were both in foul trouble and I think Matt wanted to shorten the game and try to get to the foul line (Missouri was in some foul trouble also). I don’t think he WANTED Purdue to become as passive as they became and somewhere in there is a good lesson for him on communicating what it is that he DID want. I think the last 8 minutes of today’s game will provide a raft of teaching points when the team gets together and breaks down the tape. Let’s hope the players AND coaches learned something from this.

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